30 Things to Do Over Holiday Break with Long Island Kids
School vacation can be intimidating for parents. With holiday break on the horizon, you're staring down an entire week-plus of unstructured time. To help fill the void, we've rounded up 30 holiday break activities for Long Island families from lingering must-do holiday events to visiting longtime favorite destinations, enjoying one-time events, or planning a little escape.
If you want to stay in, we've found some great any-day Zoom activities for kids and grandparents, plus fun games kids can play virtually with friends, and all the best online holiday events for families.
For most Long Island kids, Christmas break runs from Thursday, December 23, 2021, through Sunday, January 2, 2022. You can find even more Long Island happenings in our event calendar and holiday guide.
Take a drive to see some over-the-top houses, including this one on Elm Avenue in Coram. Photo courtesy of the homeowner
Christmas and Holiday Break Ideas for Long Island Families
1. Tour the Neighborhood
Throw the kids in the car, pack some snacks, and hit the road to visit some of these spectacular home holiday light displays before they go dark.
2. Visit With Santa
Schedule a time to get your last-minute gift requests in and snap a picture with Santa before he flies off for final Christmas preparations.
3. Walk in a Winter Wonderland
Visit Bayville Winter Wonderland to meet Santa, ride the holiday train, enjoy some arts and crafts, and check out the arctic skating rink. There is also a Christmas tree forest, axe throwing (dads will dig this!), and rock climbing. Bonus: Most attractions are outdoors, and holiday movies show at the drive-in each weekend beginning at 6pm.
Delight in a drive through the Magic of Lights at Jones Beach. Photo courtesy of the Magic of Lights
4. See Some Magic
Gawk at the Magic of Lights drive-thru spectacular at Jones Beach.
5. Then Drive Through More
See the dazzling lights, amazing vignettes, and holiday scenes at the Smith Point Light Show, a 1.5-mile trail of lights put on by the Girl Scouts of Suffolk County.
6. Celebrate Winter Solstice
Westbury Gardens is illuminated during Shimmering Solstice, a special light display running through Sunday, January 9, 2022.
The Christmas House in Westbury brings seasonal cheer to life. Photo courtesy of the venue
7. Surround Yourself in Christmas
Immerse yourself in the Christmas season at The Christmas House, an interactive walk-through experience where guests explore a Christmas-themed wonderland.
8. Celebrate With Sharks
Ring in the new year with Long Island Aquarium's Fishes & Wishes party. Catch a fireworks show along the Peconic Riverfront afterward.
GingerBread Lane brings a confectionary cityscape to the Long Island Children's Museum. Photo courtesy of the venue.
9. Stroll Down Gingerbread Lane
There's always something interesting to see at the Long Island Children's Museum, and we're especially excited about its GingerBread Lane exhibit. Purchase your tickets in advance.
10. Catch a Movie
Movie theaters have reopened, and lots of family-friendly films have hit the big screen this season, including Encanto, Disney's newest flick with music by Broadway veteran Lin-Manuel Miranda.
11. See a Live Show on Long Island
12. Or in the City
Broadway is back, and there are many family-friendly shows to bring the kids to. Be sure to check out the window displays while on your way to the theater.
13. Blast Off or Take Flight
14. Roll a Strike
15. Have a Sip
Brrrr, baby, it's cold outside. Warm up with some of the best hot cocoa spots on Long Island.
Sharpen your skates and take a glide at Christopher Morley Park or another outdoor rink. Photo by LMRose Photography
16. Lace Up
Grab your skates and hit the ice at these wonderful outdoor rinks.
17. Hit Up the Arcade
Rack up the tickets and beat some high scores at one of Long Island's arcades.
18. Bounce Around
19. Go to the Gold Coast
20. Walk the Beach
Go for a stunning winter beach walk along our picturesque shorelines.
21. Explore Nature
Get up-close with nature at one of these local nature centers.
22. Root for the Islanders
Check out the new UBS Arena and cheer on the Islanders at one of their scheduled home games over the break.
23. Enjoy a Holiday Meal
Peruse the holiday village and shops, then have dinner at Milleridge Inn.
24. See the Tree
25. Hit the Slopes
Head off to one of these family-friendly Northeast ski mountains to beat the cabin fever.
26. Escape the Island
Book a weekend getaway to one of our favorite nearby winter destinations.
27. Go Snow Tubing
Bundle up and take a day trip to a nearby snow tubing spot.
28. Go for a Swim
Pretend it's summer and splash away at these indoor water parks.
29. Cross the Sound
Spend a day on the other side of the Long Island Sound exploring Mystic, Connecticut.
30. Check off Some Bucket List Items
By attempting a few of our top 100 things to do on Long Island with kids.
This article was originally posted in 2017. It was updated in December 2021.